September is here, and if you have kids, no doubt the excitement and trepidation of ‘back to school’ has been building in your home. If your children are teenagers, you may contend not only with buying school supplies and latest fashions, but with the dreaded four-letter word, “acne”. Don’t worry: we’ve heard your teen skin SOS!
It seems unfair, doesn’t it? At the same time when children become hypersensitive about their appearance, acne shows up, wreaking havoc on their self-esteem and confidence. While acne is tricky to treat, starting a good skin care routine early on in life can help in not only minimizing the possiblity of breakouts but also in preventing problems down the road.
Here are 5 steps to achieving great teen skin:
Step 1. Use Gentle Cleansers
To stop redness, help skin heal, and reduce oil production it’s recommended that teens wash at least once a day with a mild cleanser. Apothekari AHA-Mazing Clean is a gel cleanser with a unique blend of active ingredients including Sugar Cane Extract, which moisturizes and exfoliates, helping to clear up clogged pores and sloughing away dead skin without drying. Neostrata Oil Free Foaming Cleanser, is specially formulated for uncomplicated facial acne to remove build-up of dead cells, oil and impurities on the surface of the skin.
Step 2. Exfoliate
Acne is exacerbated by a build-up of dead skin cells and oil which can block pores leading to pimples. Exfoliation helps to remove this build up thereby reducing the climate for breakouts. MaMa Lotion is a 20% concentration of mandelic and malic acids which are combined together to deliver, antibacterial, oil reduction and anti-redness benefits. The combination delivers non-greasy hydration and provides antioxidant benefits to ignificantly reduce acne breakouts and shrink or eliminate blackheads. Neostrata Blemish Spot Gel contains salicylic acid and glycolic acid to effectively and gently exfoliate skin on the surface, but also to penetrate into the pore, killing bacteria and minimizing redness. It’s ideal to treat breakouts.
Step 3. Eliminate Acne-Causing Bacteria
Look for products with a lightweight texture that don’t include irritants of any kind. Neostrata Clarifying Lotion contains niacinamide and sodium ascorbyl phosphate to stop acne causing bacteria (p.acnes) , reduce oil production and heal inflamed pimples.
Step 4. Protect Against Sun Damage
Get your teen into the habit of using sunscreen daily, year round. It’s never too early as the long term effects of unprotected UV exposure include not only wrinkles but skin cancer too. Look for a formulation that delivers protection against both UVA and UVB rays with an SPF of 30 or higher. If you prefer to keep your teen away from chemicals, many formulations are available which include zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide instead. Our (and our customers’ favorites) include Anthelios Sunscreens. Anthelios Ultra Fluide Mineral Sunscreen is an SPF 50 tinted lotion formulated with titanium dioxide. For girls, foundations and/or pressed powders with sunscreen are great alternatives. See our full line of sunscreens here.
Step 5. Absorb Oil
Until recently, the only way to control oil on the skin’s surface was by using oil blotting paper. If this, along with pressed powder isn’t enough, your teen may want to consider a treatment like Clarex, a breakthrough cosmeceutical that contains Polybibe (invisible oil-absorbing microparticles) that absorbs facial oil like a sponge. If your teen opts for an oil absorbing product, make sure that it does not contain irritants like menthol, camphor, or alcohol, which are surprisingly common in most absorbent anti-acne products.
It goes without saying that nutrition and lifestyle factors play a role in acne as well:
- Hormones: During the teen years, the body produces excessive amounts of hormones, especially androgens, which trigger oil production. The more oil produced, the more likely the pores will become clogged and rupture. Bacteria begins to multiply, resulting in inflammation and that dreaded pimple.
- Not Cleaning Properly or Enough: Teens are just too busy dealing with life and just like their chores get neglected, so does their skin. While dirty skin itself doesn’t cause acne, if you have acne and don’t cleanse your face, dead skin cells can build up, that just like oil, will clog pores.
- Make Up: Concealers, and cream moisturizers often cause pore-clogging ingredients. Teach your teens to read labels and keep track of how their skin reacts with new products.
- Genetics: Just like your teen got your hair or eye colour, they also got your skin type. If you had acne as a teen (and 85% of people did), your teen is pre-disposed to having acne as well.
- Diet: No, it’s not chocolate but sugar that may be the cause of acne. A diet high in sugar and simple carbohydrates may make an acne flare-up more likely. Try (it may not be easy) to get your teens away from processed foods like chips, crackers, and cookies, starches like white bread, pasta, and potatoes and sugary drinks. Your body responds to these sugary treats by cranking out more insulin, which increases the production of skin oils and contributes to the clogging of follicles. Greasy foods? Your skin won’t necessarily make more pimples because you indulge in greasy foods. But if you work in a greasy environment flipping burgers for example, you may become more susceptible to blemishes because oil particles in the air can coat your skin and clog your pores.
Lastly, some research suggests that dairy products, particularly milk, may contribute to flare-ups. More research is needed, but it may be that the growth factors and hormones naturally found in milk somehow act as acne triggers.
The Golden Rule when it comes to dealing with oily skin, and most other skin conditions? Be consistent and give it time. The rewards are just around the corner.